Here is a compilation of tributes to the late David Sivalingam from members of the Singapore football fraternity.
They were taken from The Straits Times and The New Paper. Once again, my deepest sympathies and condolences to his family for their loss.
I hope they are able to find a little comfort in the wonderful memories that people have of him.
“Coach Siva is the other man I would look up to apart from my dad. I am extremely saddened by his death. I could really communicate with him and he treated all the AYG boys like his own sons. After every training, he would call our homes to make sure every player was back safe and sound. When we lost 1-4 to Thailand in the AYG, I was distraught. But coach Siva put his arm around me on the bus and told me that winning and losing is all part of this beautiful game called football. I will really miss his guidance.”
– National U-14 squad member and defender Dhukhilan Jeevamani
“Coach Siva is extremely passionate about football. Last Saturday morning, we had a COE (Centre of Excellence) league game against SAFFC (Singapore Armed Forces FC). We needed a win to go third in the table and we won 7-1. It was our biggest win of the season and we could tell how much it meant to our coach at the end of the game. He was so happy with our performance. But he also kept reminding us never to neglect our studies. He would allow us to miss training if we had exams.”
– National U-14 squad member and striker Syazwan Zin
“Siva was a coach who really knew how to blend in with the players. Even though we had went our separate ways after our Sembawang days, I remained close to him. He was such a funny character, who was always teasing the players and we felt that we could approach him to talk about anything. He had my total respect as a mentor and as a friend.”
– National striker Noh Alam Shah who, as a rookie player at Sembawang Rangers, spent his formative years groomed by Sivalingam
“He creates such a happy mood whenever he is around and that is something we will miss in the FAS office.”
– National U-21 coach V. Sundramoorthy
“This is a sad loss for Singapore football. Sivalingam has been producing results for the youth teams. He won the Under-18 league with the National Football Academy side last year and this year, he did very well with the AYG team.”
– Lions goalkeeping coach Lee Bee Seng
He was with me for about six years in various coaching capacities. At one time, he was our first-team coach but he truly excelled in coaching the youths.”
– Teo Hock Seng, chairman, Tampines Rovers
“This is so sudden. I am so shocked. The team is very close to him. He is like a father. He has done so much for us. We are all very sad that we have lost our dear coach. He was always motivating us to perform beyond ourselves. He not only taught us how to play good football but also how to be good and responsible citizens. Whenever we did something wrong, he would never raise his voice at us. He would always take us aside and try to find out why we did what we did. He is a great person and we will miss him dearly.”
– National U-14 squad member and skipper Jeffrey Lightfoot.
Finally, here are some words from David himself which were taken from an interview in March 2009. It reveals his coaching philosophy and methods for dealing with youth footballers:
“These boys are like my children. When their parents entrust them to me, I have to look after them as they are all very young. I discipline them and make sure they don’t mix with the wrong company. When they get injured during training, I bring them to the hospital and stay with them even until 3am, make sure they’re fine. After training, I call to make sure that they have reached home safely. When students feel that we genuinely care for them, they will give of their best to the game.
– National U-14 coach David Sivalingam, RIP 1958 – 2009
David Sivalingam’s funeral is on 4 November (Wednesday). The cortege leaves at 3pm for a 3.30pm service at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Tampines. Subsequently, it will travel to Mandai Crematorium Hall 3. The cremation is at 5pm.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan